In 1963 I had just graduated from UC Berkeley and had gone to New York to begin an apprenticeship with Frederick Kiesler, the visionary painter, sculptor, theater designer and architect. I was climbing the stairs to his studio and heard voices. He had left the door ajar for me and was talking to a museum director from Switzerland. He was saying, “that through art we can change the laws of the world.” ”
This idea that art can engage in worldly affairs, “can change the laws of th world,” is what has driven my work these past 40 years. That art is a catalyst for social change and cultural transformation.
I practice art to communicate, to be in the world..
I practice art because it is the most meaningful thing I can think of doing.
I practice art so that I can be at the table. .
I practice art to have fun.
I practice art to be part of the global community of artists and to participate in our common and creative struggle for freedom.
I practice art because I can sing while doing it.
I practice art to respect my grandfather’s request to show him the face I had before I was born.
I practice art to have ONE un-edited activity in which I can mess around.
When my son was young, 2 or 3, and the socializing process of saying “no” was beginning to lock in (we all know that process; don’t touch this, you’ll burn yourself; don’t throw food; etc.) Well, I began to feel bad about this. I felt he would lose that wonderful sense of freedom we are born with, that sense of open-ness that we have in the beginning. And, yes, of course he did need to live in the world! Couldn’t throw food around or burn himself, but I felt a sense of loss. So one morning, on the ceiling of his room, as big as possible, I painted the word, “YES.” YES!!
So, that when he woke, the first thing he saw, was YES! YES! YES!
I practice art to say YES!